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A Savior Who Brings Peace

  

“And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.  And they shall dwell secure for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.  And he shall be their peace.” Micah 5:4

A couple of months ago, “suicide”, defined as “the intentional taking of one’s own life, was declared the leading cause of injury related death in America.  Initially, I read this and, although not exceedingly surprised, it sobered me into taking the focus off of myself and onto the state of mankind.  I soon shrugged this off for a month or so until I came into work and was advised of two completed suicides that had occurred in our city within hours of each other, one by hanging and one who had severely cut her throat (I’m not trying to be graphic, just painting a hint of reality as to what many may not know goes on while we’re sleeping in our warm comfortable beds, gently sleeping off our tired bodies and digesting filled stomachs).  The following week as I was nearing the end of my shift, another call came in where a woman had placed a bag over her head, affixed a helium tube into the bag and had taken her life.  I remember almost tearfully praying about the level of mental and spiritual torment people were reaching to the point of (violently) taking their lives.  Before I had a chance to absorb, dispose and callous up to this thought, in comes yet another incident in our city, where a man faced with an eviction notice barricaded himself inside his home and shot and killed himself.

These were just four occurrences in one of the tens of thousands of cities in the US, during the span of just three weeks that had crossed my course of work (additional suicides in my city of work most likely occurred during this time frame that I was not made aware of).  What leads a person to declare “it would be better for me to not live at all than to carry on in this mental or spiritual state.”   I was reminded of the Blaise Pascal quote:  “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”

To my surprise, this isn’t a “holiday season” thing, this is a continually increasing response of torment to a fallen world.  Although I’m not convinced it’s full “happiness” that these victims to suicide are seeking, I do feel internal “peace” may have been the remedy all of these victims needed to overcome the darkness they settled in prior to taking their lives.  Sure some were motivated by an influence of self-inflicted alcohol or drugs, & others may have craved attention, but the truth remains that a spiritual darkness lies at the foundation of all of these cases.  A darkness that was overcome when Jesus restored peace between sinful man and a righteous God.

Where does that lead my response as a Christian.  I could post a debate about whether or not those who commit suicide have a chance of entering the Kingdom?  The more immature Christian me of a few years ago wants to be the judge who says “how could someone take the gift of life that God has given them and feel it’s their place to take what they haven’t created”.  Or I could answer the responsibility that God has placed on His people and direct them to peace.  As Jackson pointed out earlier in the week, what better time than now to unravel and present to others all that came with the initial coming of Jesus and all that follows His second coming.  This gift of Jesus brings salvation, and hope, and justice, and rightness with God and, on a variance of levels, this gift brings peace, both now and in the age to come.

Luke 1:76-79 tells of Zechariah speaking of his son John to be the one to lead the way for this coming Messiah who will “give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace“.  This is a future peace from war, a Kingdom peace from illness, a peace from the strongholds of sin, a peace from our broken relationship with God, and in all this should come a “hopeful peace” within those who cling to salvation now.  The world can & will throw at you whatever it can to take whatever you have, but facing “whatever”, in God through Christ, it can’t take our peace.

Depression? – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Anxious? – “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Facing Hardship? – “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

With the coming of our Savior came the opportunity for a peace with God, a present and future peace with others (including our enemies) and a hope that leads to a present peace within ourselves. A peace that approximately 40,000 US people who took their lives last year may have had the opportunity to experience, if only one of us would have directed them towards this Savior we ourselves cling so tightly to.  This Christmas I look forward to celebrating the second coming of this “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:7).  I pray that God would move me, even more, to urgently plead with those I cross paths with in this dying world to both share in this celebration with me & to share in this peace through Christ.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

13 Responses to “A Savior Who Brings Peace”

  1. on 08 Dec 2012 at 9:32 amRussell

    On a side note (& since the trini topic scores big responses around here;) Micah 5:4 is a bomb-great anti-trini verse that I just discovered this week. If Jesus is God then how come he has a god and needs to rely on the strength of someone else to stand and shepherd his flock.?.

    On another side note… can someone shed some light on the “I came not to bring peace, but a sword” verse for this post… preferably before the contentious posters arrive:). I didn’t have time to attack it, & I don’t believe it to slightly refute any of my post, but it’d be nice to go over in this forum.

  2. on 08 Dec 2012 at 11:33 pmVictor

    Russell, this is a powerful post. Thanks for sharing your heart and calling us to reflect on how we should be in the world.

    The idea of Jesus coming not to bring peace but a sword is cleared up in the context of the verse itself:

    Matthew 10:34-39 – “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

    Jesus didn’t come to fight with a sword, but his coming and his gospel do cut a dividing line in the sand between those who are his disciples and those who are not. There will be sheep on one side and goats on the other. There will be wheat and there will be tares. There will be wise virgins and foolish virgins. There will be a wise man who builds his house upon a rock, and a foolish man who builds upon the sand.

    When we commit to follow Jesus’ call, we don’t then turn against those who are on the “other side”, but as you encourage us in this article – we pray, love, speak, and care for them as best we can.

    But in the question of this verse, I think it makes more sense with a little more of the context. Let me know your thoughts.

    Again, I hope we don’t get detracted from your main point above. Sobering things to consider.

  3. on 10 Dec 2012 at 6:08 amRussell

    – “Jesus didn’t come to fight with a sword, but his coming and his gospel do cut a dividing line in the sand between those who are his disciples and those who are not.”

    ^that explained it effectively perfect for me, thanks. Thinking of even my past relationships (family & friends). I have a thought of being close to many when “on the other side” prior to committing to Jesus, & then after committing to Jesus, finding it impossible to stay locked arms with those who weren’t followers of Christ, regardless of how close we were before. That picture of being locked arms with someone and Jesus cutting/dividing that peace/closeness/relationship shared between us with a sword comes to life for me. Jesus didn’t come to bring peace between believers in him and those who believe otherwise, but to severely separate them. Kind of shatters the “coexist” stickers/concept being seen everywhere. http://bloggingtothemaxey.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/coexist1.png

  4. on 11 Dec 2012 at 11:33 amSean

    Deep thoughts, Russell…thanks for sharing. I had no idea the problem was that acute. The beauty of the kingdom gospel is that it offers hope–living hope.

  5. on 11 Dec 2012 at 12:37 pmJas

    This verse should be read in the context of Micah 7 which is a warning of destruction of those that dont accept the prophet’s words. It is also closely related to the sign of Jonah which Jesus gave as a warning of a coming judgement on the land of Judea and the city of Jerusalem . So the use of the word sword means exactly what it meant in the OT and should not be harmonized to remove its context

  6. on 11 Dec 2012 at 2:27 pmSean

    Jas,

    The immediate context is what explains the sword is metaphorical. We have to allow the NT to appropriate the OT as they see fit.

    Matthew 10:34-39 – “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

  7. on 11 Dec 2012 at 2:57 pmJas

    Sean
    The context is what it meant to the 12 which was the context of the Quote from Micah .
    Jesus was also emphasizing the difficulties that the 12 were to experience by equating it to that of Micah and instructing them to not get detained by those who were not receptive to the calling to return to the covenant especially within their own family. Those with an ear will hear and those with an eye will see and those that wont do so to their own destruction. The path is straight and the gate is narrow and few will enter and Grace will be offered to the rest at Final judgement.

  8. on 11 Dec 2012 at 4:33 pmSean

    Jas,

    Right, so then we both agree Jesus was not referring to a literal sword.

  9. on 11 Dec 2012 at 4:46 pmJas

    Sean
    A literal sword is what came upon Israel and Judah in 722BC and 586BC and also what came upon Judea and the city of Jerusalem in 70AD.
    Yes it was meant literal to the 12 so how can we change it to metaphorical.

  10. on 11 Dec 2012 at 7:16 pmtimothy

    Sean,

    I have always been concerned about the sword in the Gospels and even more so today with the current climate we are living in.

    However, Jesus gave us a practical clue in:

    Hebrews 4:
    KJV 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    or

    NASB 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    I was taught that the two edged sword is actually referring to a small, ultra sharp, double edged dagger used by such as LUKE for medical purposes.

    As well we were taught that it is impossible to divide joints and marrow(where the blood is made) and (ADAMs rib was used to make EVE).

    The practical application of Hebrews 4:12 is manifested when one uses their scripture retemory cards to deal with “skandalon”, the trigger in satans offense trap.

    So the biggest biblical sword was, a “War TrophY” david displayed in the temple, Goliath’s sword. Captured with a small stone and faith in YAHWEH.

    And the most powerful biblical sword is the word of YAHWEH:

    Psalm 119: (KJV)
    11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

    IMHO

    Timothy 8)

  11. on 11 Dec 2012 at 8:19 pmJas

    Timothy
    The word is not equated to a twoedged sword but is equated to superior sharpness so no Jesus didnt give us a hint other than the context of the quote after that he used from Micah

  12. on 12 Dec 2012 at 2:14 pmJas

    This verse is the clue to the meaning which we know happened in 70 AD. The exile of the remnant of Judah after they didnt repent but if they would have repented the sword would of been turned on their oppressors with complete victory and then all Israel would of been gathered from the Nations where they were scattered which is now still future.

    Luke 21:24
    And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

    Ezekiel 5:12
    A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

    Jeremiah 9:16
    I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.

    Ezekiel 6:8
    Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.

    Leviticus 26:33
    And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

  13. on 29 Dec 2012 at 1:13 pmXavier

    Isa 9.6: Incarnation or creation? by Anthony F. Buzzard

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqEPsUYjbJg

  

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